BEFORE YOU LODGE AN FIR
1. Check whether an FIR is applicable here.
A first information report is a loose term that’s meant to describe
the recording of a Complaint in a Cognizable Case.
2. A cognizable case is one in which the police
has powers to investigate, arrest and search without a warrant. The
following are examples of cognizable cases:
e. Domestic Violence as defined under Sec. 498A, Indian Penal Code
3. Non-cognizable cases are those in which
the Police does not have powers to investigate. But, you can approach
a Magistrate who can direct the Police to investigate. You can also
file the case directly before the Magistrate. Some examples are:
c. Giving False evidence in a judicial proceeding
4. Other offences under special legislations
e.g. The Prevention of Corruption Act, The Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act etc. have specialized procedures. So verify
what procedure you should be following.
5. As far as possible, check for what offence
you think has been committed and make sure you have all the necessary
documents to show some basis for making the complaint. For example:
a. Establish your own identity with a passport or other form of photo
b. If it is a domestic violence complaint, bring some proof of marriage,
even if it is a photo.
c. If it is a case of theft/dowry/criminal breach of trust, bring
some document showing that the item in question was yours in the first
place. If it is a dowry case for example, photos of exchange of jewelry,
original receipts etc. are useful. Also, make a list of the items
that have been stolen/misappropriated.
6. Check jurisdiction. Most criminal cases
have jurisdiction where the offence took place. For example, if your
chain was stolen at Nanganallur Railway Station, you will have to
file the Complaint at the Police Station which has jurisdiction. In
domestic violence cases, a woman can file the case at the police station
which has jurisdiction over the place she presently resides. Some
offences, like offences under 498A and offences under cyber crimes,
may be entrusted to a separate police cell, so check before you go.
7. As far as possible, write your complaint
out and carry it along with one copy.
AT THE POLICE
1. Ask to see the Station House Officer. S/he
will be the person who will register your complaint.
2. In every cognizable case, the Police must
register a Complaint.
In case of a non cognizable complaint, the police will record your
complaint and give you an “NC” or a non cognizable complaint
record. Keep this safely. You might need it in the future in case
the matter escalates into a cognizable offence, or you go before a
3. The FIR has two parts:
a. The proforma, which is the printed sheet where details relating
to the Complainant and the Accused and the offence will be taken down.
As a Complainant, you will have to sign the proforma.
b. The second part is the statement of the Complainant, which also
has to be signed. No other witness statement requires to be signed
under Indian Law.
4. Even if you do not know your Accused, give
a faithful and accurate description. Print out and/or download cellphone
shots you may have taken. Keep the original files as they will be
called upon later at the stage of trial.
5. Ask for the statement to be recorded in
a language you understand. In case that is not possible, make sure
the statement is translated and explained to you by the officer recording
it. Insist on every detail being recorded.
6. In case the statement is not recorded as
per your wishes, please sign it “under protest,” recording
your reservations. Submit your written complaint and obtain an acknowledgement
on the copy you have.
7. If that is not possible, go home and send
the written complaint by registered post AD and be sure to record
that your Complaint was not recorded as per your narration. Keep the
8. Do not leave the police station without
your copy of the FIR. As the Complainant, you have a right to this.
9. You may be called to the Police Station
for further statements – including identification of seized
goods, identifying arrested persons, clarifications etc. Leave a reliable
contact number for the police to get in touch with you.
10. If the Police refuse to lodge an FIR or
record an NC when the case is cognizable, this is what you can do:
a. Go to the Senior Inspector of Police of the Police Station and
make your Complaint.
b. If that fails, visit the Office of the ACP of the Division and
make your Complaint.
c. If that fails, go before a Magistrate with all your documents and
a written Complaint and ask that he direct that an FIR be lodged at
the Police Station. You may require a lawyer for this.
AFTER YOU LODGE
1. Keep the FIR copy safely. There will be
an FIR Number which will be the reference for the Case until the investigation
2. Follow up with the Police until the chargesheet
is filed. The chargesheet is filed when the investigation is over
and the Police believe that they have a case which can lead to a conviction.
3. You can also follow up to find out whether
anyone has been arrested, and as a Complainant/Victim you have the
right to be heard when these Accused apply for Bail/Anticipatory Bail.
4. When the Chargesheet is filed, the Case
will go to trial. As a victim/complainant you have the right to appoint
a lawyer to assist the Prosecution.
5. In case you are not satisfied with the investigation,
on concrete grounds, you can approach a Magistrate/The High Court
for directions in appropriate cases, if you can show that there has
been a miscarriage of justice.